Ban the Ban Wisconsin Launches 2008 Candidate Scorecard Project

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Ban the Ban Wisconsin has launched a new project aimed at identifying 2008 candidates for state legislative offices who support the ideals upheld by the organization. It is hoped that this will be a useful tool utilized by the voters in the state as they consider the upcoming November election.

Ban the Ban Wisconsin, a nonprofit organization that is working to counter the smoking ban efforts in Wisconsin, has launched a new project that is taking aim at the upcoming 2008 state elections. The project is designed to identify candidate's positions on the smoking ban so that Wisconsin voters can have a convenient consolidated resource available to them.

While the state smoking ban is certainly the most visible aspect of this issue, the real heart of the matter is identifying a candidate's stance on rights; namely the concepts of individual rights, property rights and worker rights.

"An unfortunate side effect of using public health as a tool to push for legislation is that it masks the real issues that need to be addressed, since after all, how many people feel comfortable enough to cast aside an argument for public health? It takes somebody of conviction and courage to stand up for what's right, and it is our goal to identify these people"

While the project is a continuing effort as responses from candidates continue to come in, the results so far have been impressive. As BtBWI is completely nonpartisan, candidates are judges objectively on the criteria outlined above and categorized as to whether they support rights, support the ban or are currently undecided.

A new criteria for consideration is one of worker rights which spawned from a recent incident in Illinois where UAW workers at a Caterpillar plant had their contract violated via a smoking ban. BtBWI upholds that labor union contract terms should not be so easily cast aside in the name of a smoking ban; particularly when certain privileges have been previously secured through the collective bargaining process.

Ban the Ban Wisconsin urges 2008 candidates to voice their opinions on this issue and hopes to encourage open and honest dialog between themselves, the candidates and the voters.

"We work closely with people throughout the state, and there is a growing underlying consensus that voters want to hear that a candidate is going to address taxes or the energy crisis, not that they are going to spend time and resources in chasing down a smoking ban. With all of the other stressors weighing on the public's shoulders right now, the last thing they want to hear is that their favorite watering hole might be driven out of business. The candidates need to see that Wisconsin citizens want to be treated like adults and want their elected officials to take care of pressing issues instead of trying to babysit them."

Ban the Ban is working tirelessly to increase the visibility of both the voters and the candidates in this race.

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Ryan Evans
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